Tipperary County Council has been urged to look at repairing or buying derelict houses on Sarsfield Street in Nenagh to help ease the housing crisis.
The call was made by Cllr Seamus Morris at Nenagh Municipal District Council, when he pointed out that the houses were perfect for a regeneration scheme.
“Maybe we could look at some sort of an urban renewal scheme. People could be encouraged to come into town from rural areas,” he said.
However, his plea was not acceptable to Cllr Michael O’Meara with the Lower Ormond Lowry Team councillor pointing out: “People from rural areas don’t necessarily want to move into a town.”
Earlier, Cllr Morris said it was “shocking” that the council had yet to receive its housing allocation from central government.
“Our budget was finalised last year and it is very hard for housing officers to plan for the year,” he said.
Housing officer Aidan Fennessy said the council hoped to have its allocation before the end of March but it was “out of our control”.
Cllr Morris claimed the local authority was being asked to pick up on a homeless crisis caused by Government policy but their ability to house people was being impaired following “cut after cut”.
He urged that the ceiling for local authority loans be pushed up to E35,000 from the current E30,000 as many people were falling just outside the threshold.
Cllr Hughie McGrath called on the local authority to seek extra funding in order to prevent people on category two of the housing list for repairs eventually ending up as category one cases.
“If the Government wants to lift all boats it should provide funding that will give more constant employment to local trades people who will take on one two lads,” he said. “There is no boom down here.”
He was supported by Cllr Ger Darcy who said there chances of people in categories two or three getting anything done was “slim”.
He called for new houses to be built in villages where, he said, there were “huge” waiting lists.
Cllr Darcy also said that the Rent Allowance Scheme (RAS) only worked when the country was “full of empty houses”.
Cllr O’Meara and Cllr Mattie Ryan urged that houses for the elderly be built in rural areas, with Cllr O’Meara urging a rethink on allowing one-off houses in rural areas.
Mr Fennessy said the council was looking at all its landbanks, “but land and housing don’t always match”.
He revealed that despite the local council having a waiting list of 629 people, he didn’t expect that any new houses would be finished before the end of 2016. He also stated that there was a lack of emergency accommodation in Tipperary